Gonzales: just because we always said "no," doesn't mean we ever said "never"

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 11:04 AM

If my respect for Alberto Gonzales wasn't already at the very bottom of the scale, it would have gone down when I read this latest piece of Gonzalez nonsense.

From today's AP report:

Gonzales to Release Spy Program Details

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Wednesday he will turn over secret documents detailing the government's domestic spying program, ending a two-week standoff with the Senate Judiciary Committee over surveillance targeting terror suspects.

"It's never been the case where we said we would never provide the access," Gonzales told reporters.

"We'd obviously be concerned about (how) the public disclosure may jeopardize the national security of our country," he said. "But we're working with the Congress to provide the information that it needs."

The documents held by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court _ including investigators' applications for permission to spy and judges' orders _ will be given to some lawmakers as early as Wednesday.

Gonzales said the documents would not be released publicly. "We're talking about highly classified discussions about highly classified actions of the United States government," the attorney general said.

The records will be given to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who two weeks ago lambasted Gonzales for refusing to turn over documents that even the FISA Court's presiding judge had no objection to releasing.

The documents also will be available to lawmakers and staffers on the House and Senate intelligence committees. These people already were cleared to receive details about the controversial spy program.

Leahy and Specter did not have an immediate comment.

The documents are being turned over two weeks after a testy Senate hearing, during which lawmakers hammered Gonzales for refusing to provide details about the court's new oversight _ and whether it provides adequate privacy protections.
On Jan. 17, the day before the Senate hearing, Gonzales announced that that the FISA Court had assumed oversight authority of the surveillance program a week earlier, and had already approved at least one warrant targeting a person suspected of having terror ties.

Senators demanded to know more about how judges on the secret court might consider evidence when approving government requests to spy on people in the United States. And FISA Court Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, in a letter released at the hearing, said she had no objection to giving lawmakers copies of orders and opinions relating to the secret panel's oversight of the spy program.